TUPELO • Sixteen students have a better understanding of how a meal gets to the table thanks to a cooking camp this week at Lawndale Elementary.

“1, 2, 3 Come Cook With Me” is one of 18 weeklong camps in the Summer Opportunity Camps program, said Teresa Gregory, camp director. The camps are $90 each.

“Each week we have about five different camps for students in different grade levels,” she said. “The camps are open to Tupelo Public School District students and their friends.”

This is the third year for the cooking camp, which is offered to students who have completed third through seventh grades.

“We usually have one teacher and about 10 students, but this camp is so popular we added a second teacher so we could have more students,” Gregory said. “Teachers from all over the district turn in proposals for camps featuring things like art, science, technology and cooking.”

Anna Garner, an art teacher at Tupelo High School and Stephanie Allen, a chemistry teacher at THS, are leading the cooking camp, which began Monday and ends Friday.

“We pretty much do an entire meal each day,” Garner said. “The first day we did no-cook snacks, like ham and cheese pinwheels. They’ve also learned to make Philly steak sandwiches, home fries, chocolate cobbler and homemade ice cream, and today we did lasagna with salad and garlic bread for lunch and quiche for breakfast.”

“I liked learning how to make the pinwheels because they’re something that’s easy to do for a party or to make for my parents or grandparents,” said Miriam Sliman, 11, who is headed for Tupelo Middle School in the fall. “I also liked learning to make chocolate cobbler. My grandmother makes that and it’s nice to know how to do that now.”

Sliman’s classmate, 12-year-old Kaytlynn Stanfield, enjoyed the interpersonal relationships as much as the cooking tips.

“My favorite part was getting to know people and cooking with other students,” Stanfield said.

Bella Rose Morgan, 9, a student at Saltillo Elementary, said the class was more than just recipes and measuring.

“You have to put your love into the food,” Morgan said. “I want to be a chef when I grow up so it was just a big honor for me to be here.”

For Caroline Carlisle, who is headed into 6th grade at Guntown, the camp was about taking her skills up a notch.

“I learned how to professionally cook for my family,” the 11-year-old said. “I only knew how to make simple things like bacon and eggs before, but now I can make lasagna, breakfast pie and pinwheels.”

Liv Gillean, 12, is also headed to TMS in the fall.

“I like that I learned to make simple stuff to go into bigger stuff, like learning to make croutons to go on top of a salad,” she said.

The students used hot plates, a griddle and Crock-Pots to make their creations and they served the food on china plates with real silverware.

“One of the first things they learned was how to wash dishes,” instructor Allen said. “They learned to wash everything from fresh eggs to dinner plates.”

Today, the students will learn to make hot chocolate popsicles, beef carnitas and Mexican street corn. On Friday, they’ll tackle a beef roast with potatoes and carrots, green beans, fried squash and zucchini and peach cobbler. They’ll serve this meal to their parents.

“What surprises me is they’re so eager,” Allen said. “Most kids don’t want to learn things in the kitchen, but they seem to be excited to try out the food they’ve made on their parents.”

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